U.S. Banks Had Second-Best Earnings Ever in 2012, FDIC Says

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U.S. banks had $141.3bn in net income last year, the second-best on record behind the $145.2bn total reported for 2006, on non-interest income and lower loss provisions, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said.

Fourth-quarter net income was $34.7bn, a 37% increase from the year-earlier period, the FDIC said Tuesday in its Quarterly Banking Profile.

The total for the three-month period that ended December 31st was a decline from $37.6bn in the third quarter, the FDIC said.

Bloomberg reports that industry profits were widespread with 60% of banks reporting increases from the prior year even as interest-income margins tightened, according to the agency’s report. Lenders set aside $15.1bn billion for bad loans - a 24.6% reduction from the year earlier - and the $18.6bnn in charge-offs marked the 10th consecutive quarter of declines.

'When you look back to where we were just a few years ago, the progress made to date is meaningful', FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg said Tuesday in a briefing on the report. 'But troubled loans, problem banks and bank failures remain at elevated levels, while growth in lending and revenue remains sluggish'.

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U.S. Banks Had Second-Best Earnings Ever in 2012, FDIC Says

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